Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Threadbare Tyranny

Ron Koppelberger
Threadbare Tyranny
Chimes and withering roses, warm gusts of perfume and tides of killjoy resolve filled the spaces and clutter that Bacon The Clown occupied. “They’re vermin, dirty lousy vermin!” he whispered to the green witch smiling back at him from the vanity mirror. “Lousy rotten bloodsuckers and jerks, all of em rotting jerks!” he said as his body quivered with anticipation for the performance.
The year had gone as well as it would have had he been in hell, in loathsome cotton candy misery, in popcorn shame and costumed arrays of clown hatred. Tempests and twilight fires he thought as he added a few final touches to the grease paint on his face. I’m threadbare with all of this crap he thought, threadbare and burned to the bone with tiny smiling faces and overgrown children looking for the hoot, the holler, the guffaw. His woe had been the motivating factor in his aggression and he simply screamed with joy when the little ones cried out in fear. He grimaced and the paint crinkled with his maniacal grin. “I’ll show them the tyranny of the threadbare, the tyranny of the wonted clown, in all his glory and with just a touch of glee!” he said aloud as he made his way to the dressing-room door. His black gloved hands slid against the door brass and the knob remained steadfast, outside he could hear laughter, mocking him, shaming him with it’s accusation. “Let me out!” he screamed at the door, “Let me out!” The laughter continued and he reared back and slammed his fist into the door. “Let me the hell out!” he screamed in rage. The laughter continued and he grabbed a chair and slammed it against the door until it splintered. “I’ll show you the tyranny of the threadbare, I’ll show you!” he screamed. He grabbed the knob again and jerked hard, the door wiggled in it’s frame for a moment and the trim came loose falling to the spotted dirty floor.
Stepping back he ran toward the door with his shoulder. The door slammed inward before he made contact with it and the carnival barker stepped through the door. The momentum of both men knocked them to the ground and the barker died on the spot after hitting his head hard against the floor. Bacon kneeled over the barker and shivered with the cool air that floated across the circus common. Spit rolled from between his lips and he coughed a few times as he tried to rouse the barker.
Two children screamed and pointed at the clown, “He’s the one, he’s crazy, he killed that man!” Bacon raised his head and shook, “No…it was an accident, I was locked in and it was an accident!” A crowd gathered and the clown tried to regain his feet. A large bearded woman stomped on his foot and he fell back to the ground. “He killed Al. He killed Al the Carney Leroy!” Leroy looked at the clown and slammed his fist into his face. Leroy’s hand came away with a smear of paint and blood. Bacon fell to the ground and moaned, “The door was locked…I couldn’t get out, it was an accident I swear it!”
There were dozens of people around the clown now and they all took turns punching and kicking him. “STTTTTOOOOOPPPPPPP…it was an accident, an accident!” he said through broken and bleeding lips. When they were finished they tossed his body into one of the large green trash dumpsters along with his belongings.
He awoke near midnight. There was dried blood covering his face and he had two black eyes that were swollen and puffy. His legs ached from the bruising and his side hurt like crazy. “Arrrrrggggghhhh!” he said as he spit out a gob of blood. Gray clouds tinged the midnight sky and he thought of moving west as he climbed out of the dumpster. “Gotta get goin!” he said to himself and the dirty green dumpster. He staggered to the main tent as he looked for the generator that powered everything in the circus. There it was…ten gallon cans of diesel fuel lined the yard next to the generator. Bacon reached into his baggy trousers and pulled out a lighter. “I’ll teach those no good jerks!” He dumped over one of the canisters and watched it flow under the main tent. Reaching into his pocket again he pulled out a scrap of paper and lit it. Tossing the burning paper into the diesel he limped-ran to the edge of the encampment and the road leading west away from the circus. The big tent caught fire and by the time he got a mile away there were several explosions.
“Gotta go west.” he said to himself as he made his way into the night a threadbare tyranny on his mind.

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